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Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan Invest in New Research and Development Technology

March 04, 2011
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

The federal and provincial governments are investing $17 million in an advanced research cyclotron.  The unit will be capable of producing isotopes for advanced medical imaging, treating diseases in humans, animals and plants, as well as developing new, stronger materials for industry.

The announcement was made this morning by the Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, on behalf of the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, and the Honourable Rob Norris, Saskatchewan’s Minister responsible for Innovation.  The Government of Canada is investing $7 million in the project, with the Government of Saskatchewan contributing $10 million. 

Our Government understands the importance of scientific innovation,” said Minister Ritz.  “The cyclotron will produce medical isotopes for use in our hospitals, while providing Saskatchewan with the capability to perform research in a wide range of fields that will that will help to grow the economy and improve our quality of life.

The addition of a major research cyclotron on campus builds on Premier Wall’s announcement earlier this week of $30 million to establish a new centre for research in nuclear medicine and materials science at the U of S,” Minister Norris said.

Research aided by the cyclotron and related equipment could lead to the development of new crops with improved yields, help identify and examine diseases, and design new drugs and vaccines.

The cyclotron will generate short-lived radioactive isotopes used in Positron Emission Tomography – Computed Tomography (PET-CT) scans, which will support the development of a new provincial PET-CT medical imaging program.   The cyclotron will support research into the production of Single Photon Emission Computerized Tomography (SPECT) isotopes which are used in the majority of medical imaging procedures in the province.

These strategic investments offer direct and immediate benefits for the nearly 300 Saskatchewan people per year who must leave the province to obtain the medical imaging they need,” said University of Saskatchewan President Peter MacKinnon. “As well, the cyclotron and PET/CT scanner are critical components for our vision to lead the country in nuclear medicine. This includes research into the potential of medical isotopes that offer new windows into the body, as well as providing teaching and training of specialized skills that are much sought-after around the world.

The new cyclotron will be located near the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, the Canadian Light Source, the new International Vaccine Centre (InterVac), and the Royal University Hospital, which will enhance the research and development capacity of these facilities.

Western Economic Diversification Canada works with the provinces, industry associations and communities to promote the development and diversification of the western economy, coordinates federal economic activities in the West and advances the interests of western Canadians in national decision making.

For additional information, contact:

Lloyd Suchet
Office of the Minister
Western Economic Diversification
E-mail: Lloyd.Suchet@wd.gc.ca

Kathy Young
Executive Council
Government of Saskatchewan
Telephone:  (306) 787-0425
E-mail:  kathy.young@gov.sk.ca

Michael Robin
Research Communications
University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Tel: (306) 966-1425
E-mail: michael.robin@usask.ca

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